You may find something different than usual if you visit Bogor on Wednesday. On this particular day, there will be many people wearing black traditional clothes with a headband
No, it is not a carnival day and there won't be any parades to take place. If the wearers are adults then they are government officers of Bogor. If they are boys or girls, they must be elementary students.

The reason for this is because the newly announced policy in Bogor Municipalities that it is a mandatory for all civil servants to wear Sundanese traditional clothes and headband every Wednesday. Schools in Bogor are also encouraged to voluntarily apply the same.
The concern of many people including me about the extinction of Sundanese tradition and culture from this rain city is the major reason of the policy. As few times mentioned on my own writings, Sundanese culture are under a threat of being extinct someday. It has been diminishing day by day by many factors. It will be an irony for this city that should be the land of Sundanese people, if someday their own culture and tradition disappear, from their own land (read - Kujang Monument). The concern seems to have been shared with many other people in Bogor. Therefore now started with the government officers, they, or better if I use, we, Bogor citizens are trying to prevent the culture from extinction.

The clothes are called as "Baju Kampret" or in English "bat clothes". It is Black as a bat color. The headband used is also a traditional headband from Sundanese ethnic. It is quite different from Javanese "blangkon".

Besides having to use the "bat clothes", the government officers must also speak Sundanese Language. This is also for the same purpose i.e. in order to make people accustomed with this vernacular of Bogor. I believe some of the officers must face difficulties in speaking this language because not all of them are from Sundanese ethnics as people in Bogor come from many ethnics in Indonesia (read : Bogor People).
Elemntary school students - www.tempo.com
The same policy have been made in several cities in Indonesia. Like in Bandung and Garut, you may find the same thing every Wednesday. In Solo, the government officers must wear Javanese traditional clothese every Thursday. All are for the same reason to establish awareness among our own people about our own culture.
I know that I am just half Sundanese. I also can not speak Sundanese well but to see this culture disappearing from this city is  something I never want. Bogor should keep at least some of their own culture because without that Bogor will lose their identity. I am hoping that this is just the beginning of more efforts in future (not only in Bogor but also Indonesia) to conserve our own cultures and prevent them from extinction in our own land, Indonesia.

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About Anton Ardyanto

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